Lawmakers Make Major Changes To Cannabis Oil Bill, Hear Iowans’ Emotional Testimony

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- For the first time, it would be legal to manufacture and dispense cannabis oil in Iowa, under a compromised bill crafted by lawmakers at the Iowa Statehouse. The compromise would also mean more Iowans could get access to the drug.

Iowa lawmakers have made major changes to a plan so far this session to provide cannabis oil for extremely sick Iowans, but many are still frustrated with the bill.

House Study Bill 607 is nothing like it once was. The new changes were supposed to mean progress for sick Iowans hoping to buy cannabis oil in the state, like the several Iowans who gave emotional testimony to lawmakers Wednesday.

Under the changes, Iowans are only eligible to get the oil if they have one of only three diseases: intractable Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis and advanced cancer with less than a year to live.

This new version passed through two committees Wednesday. That means the bill survived this week's legislative deadline and remains eligible for further debate this legislative session.

For the optimists, they'll say this new compromise allows manufacturing and dispensing the oil in Iowa, meaning it's finally a way for people to get it. It would legalize the use for people with those three specific diseases. Under the current law passed in 2014, only people with intractable Epilepsy could get the oil. But lawmakers failed to pass a provision that would have allowed the oil to be manufactured or distributed in Iowa.

Critics say the new bill doesn't go far enough. It only allows manufacturing and dispensing in two locations in Iowa, which still makes it tough for widespread access. And they think more people should be able to get it, not just those with Epilepsy, MS or terminal cancer.

Opponents of legalized Cannabis Oil caution that they want to see more studies on the effectiveness of the treatment and whether there could be further harm from taking it. They also want approval from the Federal Drug Administration.

Watch Dave Price's story above to hear the testimonies.